Sunday, May 02, 2004

Out here on the perimeters of the commuter belt, we is not, as the dead rock and roll wildman Jim Morrison may have put it, stoned, immaculate. Mind you, there are advantages to living in the middle of nowhere, the foremost of which is that you can be fairly anonymous ... unless elderly people move into the area.

The elderly grew up when there was a sense of community (supposedly) and everyone knew everyone else's business. This would give them the opportunity to take the moral high ground, something which they try to maintain in the modern world, despite its cold indifference. Should you happen to bump into them by accident they may well start conversations with you about the state of the paths or roads. The best way to avoid the elderly is by not "popping out" to the shops at the same time as them: fairly easily done as they prefer to go out to the newsagent at 6.30 in the morning. I am convinced that postmen's rounds now seem to start later in the morning as a response to being confronted by the elderly attempting to discuss bumps on the roads, and how as a postman it must present problems for them as cyclists. Still, not to present too negative a picture of those of advanced years: apart from the fact that they have to put up with their selfish offspring farming their brats out to them as often as possible ("it keeps mum and dad young, babysitting!") they are reliable in some ways. Foremost of these is in relation to any building sites which suddenly appear locally. Ask a pensioner what's happening and they will furnish you with all the details of whether it's a new business, or worse, a pub, and when the completion date is due. Still, best not to be too critical. Becoming elderly is a path we all have to tread. It's also a state of mind.

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